Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ballard Locks: A Marine Vehicle Transport Mechanism.

Boats in the Lock, in raising water.
Marine structures are interesting from a challenge point of view. You not only have to deal with the usual structural needs of any civil engineering construction, but you also have to deal with the force of water.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, more commonly known locally as Ballard Locks, are a pair of mechanisms to assist in the transport of boats, small ships, etc., between the salty sea waters of the bay in the West and the fresh waters of the lakes to the East, without the salty water getting mixed up with the fresh water in the lakes.
Vidya in foreground;
boats in Lock, background.

What is particularly interesting is that the entire mechanism runs on the power of gravity! Another property that is made use of is the density differential between sea water and fresh water.

There is a considerable park area surrounding the Locks, with a fairly large number of plant species, exciting to botany enthusiasts.

The tours are about 1-hour long, and free. The entire place is operated through the US Army Corps, and is funded by the US Government.

All in all, an excellent place to visit, when in Seattle. 


  1. An excellent mechanism coupled with laws of Physics and chemistry.

  2. It is a fantastic mechanism using Physics laws..